|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 14, 2000
Savon and Bennett on collision courseAlan Baldwin
Cuba's Felix Savon and American Michael Bennett were launched on a heavyweight collision course on Thursday that will knock one of them out of the Olympics without a medal.
Savon, chasing a third successive Olympic gold that would allow him to equal his compatriot Teofilo Stevenson, was drawn to face Nigerian Rasmus Ojemaye in his first fight.
His next opponent, assuming there is no shock upset, will be either world champion and former convict Bennett or Poland's Wojniech Bartnik.
"It won't be a final but that might be the final," commented U.S. head coach Tom Mustin after the draw of the likely Savon-Bennett clash.
The meeting of the two big men is the most eagerly-awaited clash of the tournament after the disappointment of the 1999 world championships when both reached the final but the Cubans walked out in protest at the judging.
Bennett won on a walkover but says he wants to show that he can beat the Cuban in the ring.
"As a whole, I got to be really pleased with the draw," said Mustin.
"We missed some Cubans in some spots and we missed some other tough guys. We have some inexperienced guys going in that drew well their first time. If we can get them on a roll to get their confidence up, they'll be alright."
East Timorese draws Ghanian
American light-flyweight Brian Viloria, the world champion, drew Russian Serguei Kazakov as his first opponent while featherweight world champion Ricardo Juarez fights Iranian Bijan Batmani.
The draw, conducted before coaches and the media, was remarkably straightforward after previous Olympics which had a chaotic start.
One draw ball fell out of its container, to a collective groan from coaches facing the ring, but there were none of the hitches of former Games as the names of the competing nations were read out.
Victor Ramos, the East Timor lightweight entered as an independent under an agreement with the International Olympic Committee, will make his debut in the competition against Ghana's Raymond Narh.
Ramos should have been the 29th boxer in the division, because he was entered after the 28 berths had been filled through official qualifiers, but he made up the numbers instead.
The International Amateur Boxing Association announced that Kibunde Jesus of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had failed to turn up for the medical examination and weigh-in by the stipulated time.
He was therefore ruled out of the tournament.
AIBA sources said he had informed them that his plane was due to land in Sydney when the weigh-in deadline expired.
Australian light-flyweight Bradley Hore was also ruled out after he failed to make the weight.
The team's manager explained that the 18-year-old was a growing lad and nothing could have been done to shed the surplus kilo.
Two of the medal favourites in the light-welterweight division -- France's 1999 world silver medallist Willy Blain and Cuban Diogenes Luna -- meet in their first fight.
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK